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    Marion Laev

  • Fashion Design
  • MA
  • Tutor: Piret Hirv and Elina Laitinen
  • Photos: Herkki Merila
  • 100 x 150 cm


Inhabiting mourning is not just a term to describe the emotional state of the wearer but also the clothing we wear. In many ways, what we choose to wear depends on how we feel about ourselves or about our bodies, as our state of mind affects our choice of clothing. Wearing black has been associated with morbid and modish and has influenced one another for centuries, often with contradictory meanings, each having an impact on the other and becoming ultimately related in time, creating a broader debate about the shifting meanings of the mourning dress and the color black.
My thesis aims to understand social change and the impact it has on the contemporary individualistic approach to mourning, as this force of social expectations encourages us to be less wedded to the very objects we covet to the extent that fashion glorifies the individual, making mourning a private affair and raising the question about the practice of mourning itself and the challenges in mourning work due to the decline of social mourning rites.
My artistic research employs multidisciplinary mixed methods to provide a comprehensive look at this broad topic on multiple levels with a qualitative approach, beginning with an artist’s book that examines the historical context and content of my family’s stories and progressing to an artistic practical project that draws directly from my prior research.
I argue that memory work is a viable means of assisting the bereaved in their “work of mourning” because death and bereavement create new and shifting emotional-affective geographies. Exploring clothing is a personalized practice that promotes psychosocial well-being and material bonds between the living and the dead. These artefacts can take on a new and heightened significance as mementos of the marks or scars left behind.
Through my artistic practice, I investigated the hypothesis that rearranging clothing and other mementos of deceased loved ones promotes psychosocial healing from trauma and mourning (hence the phrase “on the mend”).

The Cold Case No.1. The Shoes. 2022

The Cold Case No. 2. The Shirt(s).2023
The Cold Case No. 3. The Suit. 2023
The Cold Case No.3. The Suit. 2023
The Cold Case No.3. The Reversible Trousers. 2023
The Cold Case No.2. The Printed Shirt.2023
The Cold Case No.2. The Mended Shirt.2023


Fashion has fallen subject to mass propaganda and is no longer about the personal significance of a garment. This empowers my ambition to redefine the landscape of how we perceive clothing.
My experimental practices are cemented in the ideas behind the meaning and personal value of the clothing, embodying the aesthetic and values of my childhood and upbringing. This approach is explored through research and experimentation, sometimes with an attempt to break away from the material-discursive dualistic thought— to establish a fresh materialist comprehension by using an immanent philosophy to counter the personal traumas in family history.
To encapsulate the ethos of my pieces, the methodology is garments, but not physical appearance, with emphasis on exploring the imprint of the wearer or owner of the piece.
The aim is to create new liaisons to support healing and to provide a unique visual representation of the cohesive image associated with the clothing.
This collection highlights individual sections of the body with an ambiguous sense of continuity in each piece and an opportunity to look beyond garments but not physical appearance.
My practices exist at the intersection of garments and experimental storytelling, allowing the audience to investigate and unearth the autobiographical imprint of how each piece is layered with their particular form of poetry.